Economics

Does Bitcoin Have the Potential to Become a Generally Accepted Medium of Exchange?

Financial consultant John Vallis vs. George Mason University economist Lawrence H. White

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U.S. national debt held by the public is at almost $22 trillion, or about $67,000 per citizen, surpassing the country's annual Gross Domestic Product for the first time since World War Two. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that it'll reach 102 percent of GDP by the end of 2021, to 107 percent by 2031, and hit 202 percent by 2051.

The federal government's "growing debt burden would increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the US dollar," the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in its March 2021 Long-Term Budget Outlook

If the world were to lose confidence in the dollar, what could replace it— another fiat currency, gold, or bitcoin? That was the topic of a recent Oxford-style debate hosted by the Soho Forum.

John Vallis, a financial consultant and host of the Bitcoin Rapid-Fire podcast, believes that bitcoin will eventually replace governments' fiat money as the preferred medium of exchange. He argues that bitcoin's global adoption is a matter of when not if.

Lawrence H. White, an economics professor at George Mason University, is skeptical of bitcoin's future as money. He believes it may have a future as a financial asset, but isn't suitable to become a global medium of exchange. 

The debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein and held before a live audience at the Porcupine Freedom Festival—better known as PorcFest—in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie, audio production by John Osterhoudt